nature/wildlife films

Wildlife Asia Film Festival

Posted by Susan Sharma on May 15, 2007

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Wildlife Asia Film Festival took place in March 2007 in Singapore.

"Cherub of the Mist" by Bedi Films (India)won the "Best Asian Film " award. "Village of Dust, City of Water" by Moving Images(India) won the award for the Best Environmental Film.

Naresh Bedi and Mike Pandey were given special awards for contribution to film making.

The following films/programs were selected for screening at the festival.

 "The King is Dying" by Special Investigation Team, CNN-IBN

 "Man Elephant Conflict" by NDTV

 "Ganga is Dying" by Special investigation Team, CNN-IBN

 

Bio-Diversity

Slow Loris

Posted by Susan Sharma on May 15, 2007

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Slow Lorises need your help!

The 14th Conference of Parties to CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Fauna and Flora) takes place in The Netherlands next month. Up for consideration is Cambodia’s petition to transfer this noctural Asian primate to Appendix I. This would mean the animal is considered threatened with extinction and CITES would prohibit international trade except, for instance, for scientific research.

Two NGOs, Care for the Wild International and PROWILDLIFE, are seeking support for the petition. For details on what you can do to help check here:


http://www.wildasia.net/main.cfm?page=contact&contactID=1704

 

Wildlife Poaching

Kaziranga National Park

Posted by Susan Sharma on May 14, 2007

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Kaziranga National Park is a clear case where hard work of the forest staff went unrewarded and unnoticed while the Park had the distinction of protecting a healthy population of rhinos.

The recent poaching of six rhinos has brought to light some glaring lapses. ’Seven or eight years ago when the Park was spread over 430 sq.km, it had a sanctioned staff strength of 487’. After the addition of six new portions, the Park area is is now over 1,000 sq.km. The team strength-376.

International gangs with links to China and the Middle East( rhino horn sheaths are poular there) operate in Kaziranga. Whie the police have arrested 700 poachers since 1975, only one has been convicted so far.

Source: The Indian Express 19 April 2007

Climate change and Global Warming

Sunderbans Tigers

Posted by Susan Sharma on May 14, 2007

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In the Sunderbans, both man and animal face a threat from rise in sea levels. A 10-year study in and around the Bay of Bengal has already revealed that the sea is rising at 3.14mm a year against a global average of 2mm.

"Oceanographers have estimated that 15% of the landmass will be lost by 2020 and this will have a devastating impact on both tigers and humans".

Source: WWF-India

Climate change and Global Warming

The Water Towers of Asia

Posted by Susan Sharma on May 13, 2007

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The "Water towers of Asia" or the Himalayas feed seven of Asia’s great rivers. A meltdown due to melting glaciers which are receding at an average rate of 10-15 meters per year, could trigger floods initially and droughts in the future.

Source: Inter Governmental Panel on Climate Change, Second Working Group Report.

Eco-tour

Eco tourism in India and Pakistan

Posted by Susan Sharma on May 13, 2007

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Key comments in a survey conducted by Planeta.com

 

How do you characterize ecotourism in the country where you live? Provide examples of best or worst practices

 

PAKISTAN - Ecotourism is a new concept in Pakistan. Some people understand its true concept but most of the people in travel trade are not fully aware about the concept

 

INDIA - Ecotourism is becoming one of the major attractions of Kerala. In this small state, ecotourism activities and programs are mainly in the wilderness areas. Ecotourism programs in the Periyar Tiger Reserve, Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary and Chimmony Wildlife Sanctuary are the examples of best practices, because of the participation of the local community. Worst practices are the business magnets trying to project themselves as leaders of the ecotourism bandwagon of Kerala. The whole tourism management authority of government is being manipulated by this highly influential group

 

What are the noteworthy achievements in ecotourism in the past five years?

PAKISTAN - In Pakistan people from travel trade have started thinking more seriously the negative impacts of general and tourism and there is better growth of understanding about the concept of ecotourism during the last five years.

INDIA - In India, especially in Kerala, more travellers and entrepreneurs have become aware of ecotourism. Indigenous people are making an alternate livelihood from these programs in the Reserves i mentioned earlier, and in turn, they are working with the state forest department to protect the jungles they live in which is indeed a noteworthy achievement.

Source:  http://www.planeta.com/ecotravel/tour/yearplusfive.html

 

Climate change and Global Warming

Flood and drought

Posted by Susan Sharma on May 12, 2007

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.........Three quarters of the 634 million people deemed to be most at risk from rising sea levels connected to global warming live in Asia. Coastal cities in the developed world, such as New York and LosAngeles, may be at risk. But wealthy countries are best placed to adapt to the problem. Certainly the Dutch, who have long experience of keeping the sea at bay, are not panicking. They are simply planning to spend billions more on flood defences.

 Because of its effect on rainfall and glaciers that feed rivers, global warming is also contributing to water shortages. ..

Source: Business Standard , 23 April, 2007

Anthropomorphism

Are chimps more evolved?

Posted by Susan Sharma on May 12, 2007

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A comparison of 14,000 human and chimpanzee genes by researchers at the  University of Michigan, U.S, shows that the forces of natural selection have had the greatest impact on our ape cousins. Humans and chimps followed different evolutionary paths from a common ape ancestor about 5 million years ago. Both underwent changes as the fittest survived to pass their genes on to future generations.

But the U.S study shows that the humans possess a "substantially smaller" number of positively-selected genes than chimps. This may be because the original human population was very small-which would have reduced the effectiveness of natural selection. Instead,"genetic drift" -the random survival of genetic mutations rather than their preservation by the laws of natural selection -was likely to have been more important for humans.

"These observations refute the anthropocentric view that a grand enhancement in Darwinian selection underlies human origins." scientists wrote in the Journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Source: Daily Mail, London

Captive Elephants

Trade underground

Posted by Susan Sharma on May 11, 2007

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Researchers estimate the captive elephant figures in India to be around 5000, while the official figures are 3500. Ambiguity in numbers and a ban on interstate trade has pushed elephant trade underground.

Kerala and Assam have now appealed to Central Govt. to simplify rules of trade. Kerala has also passed rules for captive elephant management. "Project elephant" is on way to mocrochip captive elephants in order to have a database for tracking animals.

All the above and opening up elephant corridors could be the only way to save these pachydems in the wild!

Source: Times of India

Environmental Education

Role of films in education

Posted by Susan Sharma on April 15, 2007

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" .there is very little evidence to show that videos are used in the classroom, especially at primary and upper primary level, though impact can be huge considering the visual memory of children at that early stage. However, videos are used by institutions at higher levels: I had the chance to attend a programme on ’Forced Migration’ organized by Jamia Milia Islamia, New Delhi and we were shown documentaries and films on displaced people and refugees, followed by a discussion. It was a very good experience since it actually provoked questioning about the problems and issues. The impact is everlasting........
........First and foremost, there is a need to develop documentaries, videos and films on issues like environment protection, health, social learning and so on, where students can be taught through examples from their neighbourhood. It would not only make them aware and sensitize them but would also develop articulation and comprehension skills. Learning can be more fun. "

Geeta Verma
Jawaharlal Nehru University
New Delhi


"Schools are not uniform entities. There are schools and schools. Most of the time, local communities have no control over it. There have been several initiatives such as the Village Educational Committees which are supposed to input into and control the school bureaucracy. But the power structures in the village are such that all these committees, especially in areas where the poor and powerless live, have never allowed them to have any control over them.


We run a school called Green School which is a five year school for the poorest – mainly dalits. In this school we have used various kinds of videos, but not the ones produced by children. Because the Project Method, which we normally use in the school, is a very slow process and takes a lot of time. We have developed child-reporters integral to their learning, but they work on photo cameras and tape recorders with which we produce wall-papers on each of the projects.


Bringing in video for this (in spite of the fact that we have abundant video resources within DDS) proves very expensive, slow and needs a lot of attention. Though one might start with a video or two in the beginning, to keep this process going might be very, very difficult for rural communities and rural schools.


At one point of time when our school was collaborating with some Municipal schools in London, our children produced some short videos to explain their families, their agriculture, their festivals and their contexts to English children in a series of ‘video journals’. One video called ‘MY SCHOOL’ was a fascinating one bringing out how children from deprived rural families see their school and their education.


Many years ago, when I was a TV producer working for SITE, I produced very location specific, participatory videos for primary school children in rural areas of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. But it was a huge programme backed up by several institutions such as state educational institutions, state governments of AP and Karnataka and the Government of India, as well as ISRO (Indian Space Research Organization). Even with that backing, the way schools used the video was a big sham. In AP, hundreds of thousands of video players and TV sets are kept in school cupboards for years: there is no enthusiasm at all to use them.


All these are very complex issues hinging upon the power of teachers in their schools (I am using this in a negative sense because teachers often abhor any extra work and are backed by their powerful unions], the power of the community to take control, as well the interest of the community to engage in these issues.


At the end of it all, all these innovations suit the elite schools and not the community schools in rural areas which need a whole transformation that needs the collaboration of multiple agencies.


In summary, let me say that while in theory video in schools is a very good thing, it is extremely difficult to get into action on that. I am quite pessimistic."


P V Satheesh
Deccan Development Society
Hyderabad

Dr. PV Satheesh was one of the pioneers of the SITE programme. 
SITE (Satellite Instructional Television Experiment), the ISRO-NASA satellite TV project
 
Source:
ICT for Development Community, Education Community" <se-ictd_se-ed@solutionexchange-un.net.in>




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